Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Because Matthew is a book on the kingdom of the heavens, Christ is here revealed as the heavenly King. In the other Gospels He is revealed as a man (Luke), as a slave (Mark), and as the Son of God (John).
The first thirteen chapters of Matthew cover many crucial items related to Christ. In chapter one we have the genealogy of Christ and the birth of Christ. In chapter two there is an account of the youth of Christ. In chapter three Christ is recommended by John the Baptist through baptism in water and anointed with the Spirit, and in chapter four He is tested and begins His ministry. After Christ was recommended, anointed, and tested, He came into His ministry. At the beginning of His ministry, He decreed, in chapters five, six, and seven, the constitution of the kingdom of the heavens. After issuing this decree, He came down from the mountain to continue His ministry. His ministry afforded Him excellent opportunities to reveal Himself to the people in many aspects. In chapter nine Christ revealed Himself as the Physician. As fallen people, we all are sick and have need of a physician. Because we stand in need of the Lord’s healing, He firstly unveiled Himself as our Physician, our Healer. After this, He unveiled Himself as the Bridegroom, the most pleasant person; as our Shepherd, the One who takes care of us; and as the Lord of God’s harvest. In chapter twelve Christ unveiled Himself as the real David, the greater temple, the Lord of the Sabbath, the greater Jonah, and the greater Solomon. If we put all these titles together— the Physician, the Bridegroom, the Shepherd, the Lord of the harvest, the real David, the greater temple, the Lord of the Sabbath, the greater Jonah, and the greater Solomon—we shall realize that Christ as the King of the heavens is so much to us.
In addition to all these revelations of Christ, in chapter nine Christ unveiled that He is the new untreated cloth for the new garment, which is also Himself. Furthermore, He is the new wine and even the new wineskin. Do you not desire to enjoy Christ as the new cloth and as the new garment? Do you not want to drink Him as the new wine and preserve your enjoyment in Him as the new wineskin? I certainly desire this.
We have pointed out that Christ as the Savior and King is our Physician. Are you sick or even dying? I am concerned that some of those reading this message may be dying. But Christ is our Physician, our Healer. Any who are sick or dying can say, “Lord Jesus, thank You. You are my Physician, my Healer. I believe that You will grant me a complete healing.” I have the assurance that we are all under His healing. Therefore, we are healthy and sound. How wonderful that Christ is our Physician!
Christ is so much to us. He is our Bridegroom. The most pleasant person is a bridegroom. We have the privilege of enjoying the best married life with Christ, our Bridegroom. As our Shepherd, Christ knows our needs and cares for them. Hence, we may forget our needs because He is our Shepherd. Christ is the Lord of God’s harvest. He is also the real David, and we are His followers. In addition, He is the greater temple, and we are the priests serving, worshipping, and ministering within Him. We are not ministering in a religion; we are ministering in a Person who is the greater temple. Christ is also the Lord of the Sabbath, the Lord of rest. Thus, we have not only rest, but the Lord of rest. We do not need to seek for rest, for we have the Lord. Eventually, Christ is our greater Jonah and our greater Solomon. He is the Prophet, telling us what to do, guiding us, and leading us, and also the wonderful King, our beloved Solomon, within us. Oh, this is our Christ!
Although as a result of His ministry Christ was unveiled in such a way, His ministry resulted in complete rejection. At the end of chapter twelve, this rejection reached its climax. Christ was utterly rejected by that incurable generation of Jewish religionists. The rejection in chapter twelve exposed the fact that the rejecting nature of that generation was incurable and, in a sense, unforgivable both in this age and in the age to come. Because the Jews rejected the heavenly King to such an extent, He forsook them. He forsook the natural, fleshly relationship with the Jews and denied His natural relationships with His kindred. At the end of chapter twelve we see that the Jews firstly rejected the Lord and then that their rejection resulted in the King’s forsaking them.
In chapter thirteen the King went into a boat on the sea. This signifies that He went into the church. In the church He unveiled the mystery of God’s kingdom. In other words, He revealed the mystery of the church, which is the life-pulse, the reality, of the kingdom. Because the mystery of the kingdom was delivered in parables, only those who loved Him, followed Him, and were one with Him could understand it. We have seen that the Lord decreed the constitution of the kingdom to the crowd on the mountain. But in chapter thirteen He unveiled the mystery of the kingdom to His followers.
After we have seen the unveiling of the Lord Himself and the unveiling of the mystery of the kingdom of God, we as His followers need to know the way to follow Him. Peter, Andrew, James, and John, and all of the other disciples knew that the Lord was the Physician, the Bridegroom, and the Shepherd. They realized so many aspects of what He was. Furthermore, they heard the mystery of the kingdom. Now they needed to know the way to follow Him. Therefore, what is revealed beginning at the end of chapter thirteen is the pathway to follow this rejected King.
How can His followers follow Him after His rejection? Remember that Matthew is not a book of history, but a book of doctrine. The record of Matthew is not according to historical facts; it is according to the sequence of doctrine. In his Gospel, Matthew presents the doctrine concerning the heavenly King and His genealogy, birth, youth, recommendation, anointing, testing, ministry, unveiling of Himself, and His unveiling of the mystery of the kingdom. After seeing all this, we may say, “How wonderful and marvelous! We know so many things about the King and the kingdom. What else do we need?” What we need is the way to follow Him. He is wonderful, and the kingdom is marvelous; but we need to know how we can get into this kingdom and follow Him. Therefore, the section from the end of chapter thirteen to the middle of chapter seventeen, a large section in this doctrinal book, gives us a clear map of the pathway to follow the rejected King.
If we are honest and faithful to Him, we must be on this way following the Christ who has been rejected by this age. Where are you today? You may say that you are in the Lord’s recovery. But the Lord’s recovery is a pathway on which we follow the rejected heavenly King. This King has been rejected by this generation and is still being rejected by it. Nevertheless, we would follow Him as those preferring to participate in His rejection. Hallelujah, we are the partakers of the enjoyment of Him and partakers of His rejection! He is the rejected King, and we are His rejected followers. He took the lead to be rejected and He is still taking it, and we are following Him on the pathway to glory. At the beginning of this pathway, there is nothing but rejection; however, at the end of it there is glory, the manifestation of the kingdom.
In this message and in the messages following I have the burden to show you how to walk on this pathway to glory. Although you are following Christ, you may not know how to walk on this pathway. In order to walk on it, you need a map. In these messages we shall learn how to read this map. We are following the rejected King, and our destination is glory. How we thank Matthew for including in his doctrinal book not only a diagram of the kingdom, but also a map of the pathway so that we may enter into the kingdom. From the end of chapter thirteen to the middle of chapter seventeen we have a clear map showing us how to walk on the pathway as we follow our beloved King into glory.
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